Fabian Demicoli

Tourism in Europe: Keeping Europe the world’s top destination

GRTU would like to inform its members in the tourism sector of COM352 an important Commission communication: Europe, the world's No 1 tourist destination – a new political framework for tourism in Europe. The objective of this Communication is that of keeping Europe as the world's top tourist destination. With 370 million international arrivals in 2008, Europe has more than 40% of the global figure – a position which needs to be retained.

However the fast changing worldwide economy impacts on the tourism sector with some important changes concerning tourist behaviour and markets of origin.

The Communication highlights challenges such as seasonality and an ageing population and outlines a policy that aims at supporting this essential sector of the European economy. It also proposes initiatives to promote its competitiveness, its sustainable and quality-based development and the visibility of Europe as an outstanding tourist destination.

Tourism plays an important role in our economy. It comprises 1.8 million enterprises, many of these being small and medium-sized businesses. It also caters for 5.2% of employment and contributes to more than 5% of European GDP.

The current demographic trend will mean that in a few years time there will be more aged tourists. This implies that the European tourism industry has to cater well for this challenge in its products and infrastructure. Tourism products also need to be more sustainable, taking into account commitments related to climate change and dependence on water and energy for example. The ever-developing information and communication technologies also offer new opportunities that need to be tapped.

The Commission proposes 21 actions to improve the competitiveness of the tourist sector in Europe, by:

  • promoting the development of sustainable, responsible and quality-oriented tourism;
  • consolidating the image and the visibility of Europe as a set of sustainable and high quality destinations; and
  • integrating tourism in EU policies and financial instruments.

The full text can be seen on: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2010:0352:FIN:EN:PDF

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